St. Therese of the Child Jesus and Holy Face, was a
Carmelite Nun in a Carmelite monastery in Lisieux,
France. She is also known as the Little Flower of
Jesus. She was born at Alençon, France, 2 January,
1873; died at Lisieux 30 September, 1897.
She was the ninth child of saintly parents, Louis
and Zélie Martin, both of whom had wished to
consecrate their lives to God in the cloister. The
vocation denied them was given to their children,
five of whom became religious, one to the Visitation
Order and four in the Carmelite Convent of Lisieux.
Brought up in an atmosphere of faith where every
virtue and aspiration were carefully nurtured and
developed, her vocation manifested itself when she
was still only a child. Educated by the Benedictines,
when she was fifteen she applied for permission to
enter the Carmelite Convent, and being refused by
the superior, went to Rome with her father, as eager
to give her to God as she was to give herself, to seek
the consent of the Holy Father, Leo XIII, then
celebrating his jubilee. He preferred to leave the
decision in the hands of the superior, who finally
consented and on 9 April, 1888, at the unusual age
of fifteen, Thérèse Martin entered the convent of
Lisieux where two of her sisters had preceded her.
The account of the eleven years of her religious
life, marked by signal graces and constant growth
in holiness, is given by Sister Thérèse in her
autobiography, written in obedience to her superior
and published two years after her death. In 1901 it
was translated into English, and in 1912 another
translation, the first complete edition of the life of
the Servant of God, containing the autobiography,
"Letters and Spiritual Counsels", was published.
Its success was immediate and it has passed into
many editions, spreading far and wide the devotion
to this "little" saint of simplicity, and abandonment
in God's service, of the perfect accomplishment of
small duties. This autobiography is now published
under the title Story of a Soul.
The fame of her sanctity and the many miracles
performed through her intercession caused the
introduction of her cause of canonization only
seventeen years after her death, 10 Jun, 1914.
She was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1997.
After receiving the visions of Our Lady at the grotto in Lourdes, Bernadette eventually became a religious sister as a member of the Sisters of Charity. She lived a life of simplicity, charity, suffering and deep holiness, dying at the age of 35. When she was canonized a saint, her body was found to be incorrupt.
In these beautiful writings of St. Bernadette, we learn the secrets of her holiness and happiness. Though she suffered greatly throughout her life, the heroic response of this humble, self-effacing nun transformed excruciating suffering into spiritual fruitfulness. Her letters and writings serve as a model for others passing through their own trials. Her writings reveal and intimate and profound love for God and neighbor. Anyone pursuing a deeper spiritual life will appreciate knowing Bernadette as she truly was, and the inspiring spiritual works of wisdom she offers to us all.
Scott Hahn was a Presbyterian minister, the top student in his seminary class, a brilliant Scripture scholar, and militantly anti-Catholic ... until he reluctantly began to discover that his "enemy" had all the right answers. Kimberly, also a top-notch theology student in the seminary, is the daughter of a well-known Protestant minister, and went through a tremendous "dark night of the soul" after Scott converted to Catholicism.
Their conversion story and love for the Church has captured the hearts and minds of thousands of lukewarm Catholics and brought them back into an active participation in the Church. They have also influenced countless conversions to Catholicism among their friends and others who have heard their powerful testimony.
Written with simplicity, charity, grace and wit, the Hahns' deep love and knowledge of Christ and of Scripture is evident and contagious throughout their story. Their love of truth and of neighbor is equally evident, and their theological focus on the great importance of the family, both biological and spiritual, will be a source of inspiration for all readers.